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“For me, it really was good to talk”

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MSer Joanne Chapman discusses how MS-UK Counselling helped her deal with her diagnosis

When you get diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), emphasis on what disease modifying treatment to start, if you can, or drugs to help your symptoms is at the forefront. Your mind is often overlooked.

I was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS recently. I knew it would have an impact on my mental wellbeing. I felt very alone. I knew I needed to talk about my feelings and not explain MS. Even though NHS psychology was mentioned, my consultant said there would be a wait. I knew I couldn’t wait.

After reading on their web site and social media, I was aware MS-UK offer a qualified professional BACP registered counselling service which is confidential, open to people living with MS, and is the only service of its kind available in the UK. The biggest thing was picking up the phone and asking for a referral. 

As the counselling sessions lasts 50 minutes, are weekly and over the phone. It gives a good reason to drop little man off at his Granny’s, so I can go home to talk freely about my thoughts and feelings. The counsellors are friendly and they get MS, so there’s no explaining. The counsellor is not there to give advice, but through talking I’ve explored how news of my diagnosis has an impact on my mental wellbeing.

It’s just the beginning for me but having the service has helped, especially if you don’t always have timely access. A well-known telephone provider had an advertising campaign in the 90s, titled “it’s good to talk”. Like the MS-UK counselling service, it is “good to talk”. I’m glad I picked up the phone. 

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